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33% of people in America rely on the internet to search for a local business every day. 96% of that traffic is from Google. SEO is common sense for most businesses. You can either pay for ads and pay for every single lead you get for eternity, or you can invest in SEO and pay a much smaller amount based on the ratio of leads delivered. Some law firms function better with PPC, but its always something you should explore as a potential avenue for revenue and lead gen.
Think about the last time you were searching for a good or service: How did you find what you were looking for? If we want information, we hit up Google. Though most of us are internet users, few of us stop to think about how search engines index or organize the content on the internet so that it is so conveniently present every time we hit the return key.
When someone searches for “lawyers in my city,” which companies appear on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP)? What do you need to do so that your law firm appears there and so that users click on your website’s title tag? SEO improves your organic search engine rankings, which makes it more likely that potential customers will land on your page and ultimately convert into your client. Working on SEO for lawyers means a few different things:
Because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, you will enjoy the most success if you commit to a long-term, dynamic internet marketing strategy.
Whether you undertake an SEO campaign yourself or enlist the help of a professional SEO firm for lawyers, this guide is meant to provide you with the information you need to consider regarding SEO marketing for attorneys.
At Syndiket, we believe four types of SEO exist – and we have an acronym to represent those 4 types of SEO. The acronym is T.R.A.P.
“T” stands for Technical, “R” stands for Relevancy, “A” stands for Authority, and “P” stands for popularity. Search engine optimization has many smaller divisions within the 4 types, but all of them can be placed into one of these 4 buckets.
Generally, technical SEO for local businesses carry the least importance for ranking. Technical SEO has a bare minimum that is required and this usually includes things like site speed, indexation issues, crawlability, and schema. Once the core technical parts are done, minimal upkeep is required.
Relevancy is one of trivium elements of SEO. It has equal importance with popularity signals and authority signals. Relevancy signals are based on algorithmic learning principles. Bots crawl the internet every time a searcher has a search. Each search is given a relevancy score and the URLs that pop up for a query. The higher the relevancy score you attain, the greater your aggregated rating becomes in Google’s eyes. Digital marketing is a strange thing in 2020, and ranking a website requires the website to be relevant on many fronts.
Google’s Co-creator, Larry Page, had a unique idea in 1998 which has led to the modern-day Google Empire. “Page Rank”, named after Larry Page himself, was the algorithm that established Google as a search engine giant. The algorithm ranked websites by authority.
Every page of a website has authority and the sum of all pages has another authority metric. The authority metric is largely determined by how many people link to them (backlinks). The aggregate score of all pages pointing to a domain creates the domain score, which is what Syndiket calls “Domain Rating”, per Ahrefs metrics. The more a site is referenced, the more authority it has. But, the real improvement to the algorithm came when Google began to classify authority weight.
If Tony Hawk endorsed Syndiket for skateboarding, it would carry a lot more authority than 5 random high school kids endorsing Syndiket. This differentiation in authority happened in 2012 with the Penguin update. Authority SEO is complicated but VERY important.
Popularity signals are especially strong for GMB or local SEO, but popularity and engagement are used for all rankings. The goal of this signal is for Google to verify its own algorithm. You can check off all the boxes, but if your content is something real people hate, Google has ways to measure that. Syndiket has proprietary methods of controlling CTR (click-through rate) but we also infuse CRO methods into our work to make sure people actually like the content. Social shares and likes are also included in this bucket.
Optimizing the elements of your website with a detailed strategy ensures that high-ranking, relevant traffic gravitates to your website. On-site SEO is an easy way for users to find your page useful and for search engines to find your page worth ranking. Law firm SEO on your website means creating custom content, making your site easy to navigate, and selecting the right keywords and incorporating them into your web pages naturally. On-site SEO requires expertise in a variety of areas:
Organizing the pages and information in “umbrellas” or “buckets” helps search engines sort your content. Nesting topical pages within larger umbrella pages will help your website stay organized. The easiest way to establish a logical website hierarchy is to map your website’s structure before you create it. Additionally, the names of your URLs must match this hierarchy.
Make sure that your website contains a site map–this tool is essential for search engines to be able to crawl your site.
Too many drop-down menus, buttons, and links will not only slow down your website, but they will also confuse users and make it difficult for search engine crawling.
While it’s important to nest pages and create a hierarchy, creating too many levels within this hierarchy—subpage after subpage after subpage—will defeat your organizational purpose.
Most of us know from personal experience that the primary way people use the internet is through mobile and tablets. What should be an obvious point by this time needs to be said again: make sure your website works on a phone. After you have built the bones of your website and filled it in with relevant, high-quality content, it’s time to work on your company’s off-website SEO.
Although there are numerous law firm SEO focus areas, these elements mean little if you do not have great content. Just as using fine china will not improve the quality of bad food, innovative design will not save your website from bad content. Users visit websites for the content, so if the information displayed on your website is incorrect, uninteresting, or without purpose, your clients will quickly move on to a competitor’s page.
Blog posts is an essential part of keeping your site updated with current, relevant information that is important to your audience. Each time you make a post, it gives users another potential reason to visit your site. Sites generally have two overarching categories of content: static site pages and blog posts. Your site will have service pages with static pages that remains relevant (more or less) for an extended period of time.
For instance, if you are a DUI lawyer focused on working with clients who are facing DUI charges, your website will have some pages that detail DUI as one of your practice areas, testimonials, and other pertinent information. Targeted posts (blog posts) will contain information that pertains to specific issues relevant to your potential clients. Focused blog posts can highlight aspects of the type of law you focus in. For instance, what occurs when a minor has a DUI, the legal penalties someone might face after they are convicted of drunk driving, or the legal implications a DUI can have on careers and professional licenses.
Basically, your potential clients will land on your site and immediately have access to general DUI information—or whatever practice areas you focus on—as well as an active blog where the posts delve into situational aspects of the given practice area. Remember, with a strong law firm SEO strategy, all of the content on your website must be high-quality and relevant. Not only will your site be updated with new posts and information, but potential clients searching for information about a specific issue will find themselves on your page.
An active blog is a vital pillar of your website’s structure because it improves your SEO. By adding fresh, useful, and original content, your formerly one-time visitors will have a reason to return again and again. Blogs strengthen consumer relationships by creating a space for comments, which can be the building blocks of a conversation.
As you know, writing a blog is a continual process. You can’t make a few posts and be done with it. Actively blogging over time is the way to continually direct traffic to your blog.
As you plan to launch an active blog, there are a variety of decisions you will need to make to maximize your impact:
When it comes to creating content in your blogs, in addition to compelling, relevant content, you’re going to want to make sure to use internal links—linking to other posts and pages on your site—to fully optimize your site. Interlinking your pages sends a message to Google that there is plenty to crawl, and provides plenty of material for GoogleBot’s spiders to weave their web throughout your site.
Google’s index is then updated with the latest snapshots of your posts and pages to have handy when users come looking. The most effective internet marketing strategy is to integrate all of the tools available to you. By creating excellent content and installing a smooth and easy-to-use navigational structure, users will land on your website and stay there. Google bing and yahoo all rely on similar indexation strategies for law firm websites and will reward a good legal firm with website traffic.
Your advertising campaign should promote your law firm by maximizing visibility and converting potential clients into loyal consumers. A respectable marketing strategy will entreat targeted viewers rather than spam them with useless content. Respective state bar associations have put into place specific regulations related to the rights of the public and advertisers when it comes to attorney marketing. Whether or not your state has these statutes, there are social and business considerations you should examine when advertising as a lawyer.
Advertisements should not ever be offensive, deceitful, or misleading. The disingenuous activity can earn your law firm a bad reputation and turn away future business as well as bring about legal implications. Unfortunately, even with regulations in place, there are lines that can feel blurred.
As respected professionals, lawyers (attorneys) are held to higher advertising standards than other industries. An attorney’s office’s reputation can be sullied if they do not implement the necessary disclaimers or engage in prohibited language. Keeping the bar laws of your state in mind, as a lawyer, you should generally avoid the following:
Your online content should be relevant, accurate, factual, and interesting. What are users looking for? What kind of information would be helpful for them to know? Hiring an SEO company that has experience working with lawyers provide direction in how to create online content that converts users into clients while remaining compliant with your state’s attorney web marketing guidelines. As a digital marketing company, Syndiket specializes in leading content teams.
When developing content for your site, it is important to make sure that you are targeting the correct audience by implementing proper geo modifiers in your technical optimizations. You must make sure your website is relevant to your geographical area so that it’s easier for potential clients to find you and share your content.
Local SEO marketing for attorneys speaks directly to the clients in your geographical area with targeted key phrases such as “Miami attorney near me” or “divorce lawyer near me.” By focusing on subjects and geographical places of interest within your state, you can hit home with your local audience.
National SEO marketing is a broader, global technique which uses phrases that are relevant to your field of work in general. For example, “medical malpractice,” “personal injury cases,” or “car accident lawyers” are phrases that point out a specific occurrence within the state or city throughout the world.
A local SEO campaign put attorneys in front of targeted, potential clients in their geographical area.
Off-site SEO is a list of improvements you can make that occur outside of your actual website. You can improve your SEO by using off-site factors that are trustworthy, reliable, and relevant. When reputable sources link to your profile (social media shares, links to your website, etc.), your SEO improves.
Off-site SEO consists of many factors including building trust by linking to relevant, high-authority sites. Off-site SEO is also improved through using a healthy number of links–including internal links–that are anchored with target keywords, the keywords that search engines have determined as most relevant or desirable.
A backlink is a link on another website that directs users to yours and an essential aspect of your off-site SEO. The number and type of backlinks that direct a page to yours will affect your website’s Domain Authority (DA) and rank on the search engine results page (SERP). An effective link-building campaign will help accumulate backlinks to your site, directing targeted organic traffic to your website.
Your link profile is composed of a list of all the other websites that contain links to your website. These are known as backlinks. Backlinks help search engines determine whether your site is useful and worthwhile to users. Ideally, a variety of high-authority (well-visited, reputable, and established) sites will contain links to your website. There are a variety of ways to accrue these links, and many of these ways are listed later in this article. Backlinks are one example of off-site SEO.
Establishing a healthy link profile is an important step of off-site SEO and comes with many benefits:
Links within your profile need to be relevant to your law business to attract appropriate viewers. Your links need to come from quality, authoritative sources such as well-regarded blogs, industry journals, news sources, or other established sites. Using internal links to link the pages of your website to each other is another way to build your link profile and steer traffic towards long-forgotten posts on your site.
Backlinks are a highly desired internet currency; however, too much of even a good thing can have negative effects. While reputable backlinks will help your SEO, spammy or irrelevant backlinks will actually have the opposite effect. The golden rule is this: websites of a cyber-feather improve SEO together. Search results improve with relevancy improvements.
You can accrue desirable backlinks in a number of ways: Perhaps the local news interviews you about new developments in your field. Maybe your company is mentioned (with a link) in a widely-read blog, or perhaps you write a guest post for that blog that includes a link to your company. These are all examples of the kinds of backlinks that can enhance your search engine optimization SEO.
Undesirable backlinks to your site occur on pages that aren’t reputable or that have been flagged by search engines as spam. Believe it or not, some websites are published for the sole purpose of featuring backlinks. Although companies may buy backlinks on these pages to improve their SERP placement in the short-term, the sophisticated tools that search engines use may end up hurting your SEO after all. Spammy backlinks can hurt your law firm SEO so much that you may even want to go through the process of having them removed.
As internet users, we are lucky that search engines discern between authoritative and non-authoritative pages because it helps us find what we are searching for. As business owners, the complicated tools that search engines use mean that we need to take special care as we are building up our link profile through backlinks. Additionally, because new high-quality backlinks may mean more than older ones, building backlinks is a continual process. You can learn more about accruing high-quality backlinks by hiring a qualified SEO company.
Visitors are looking for a professional in their area and don’t want to keep shopping for information. Your directory listing will give them the opportunity to contact you immediately. You want to increase the number of pages you control that can rank in the organic search results.
There are many directory sites that you can list yourself under, so how do you choose? A couple of high-authoritative and trustworthy sites will take you a long way. Listing your business on sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business can be a helpful element of your SEO strategy.
Facebook reigns as the most popular search engine of all time. 62% of Facebook’s 1.23 billion active users log into Facebook daily. With billions of potential clients gathered in one online area, you cannot afford to miss this opportunity to share your business’ ideas.
At the very least, your business name and contact information must be listed on Facebook; however, you do have other opportunities to direct users to your site through social media.
Creating original content for your company’s Facebook page allows social media users to click on links that go to your page. Assessing the most successful Facebook pages of competitors can give you some ideas about what kind of content makes a big splash. When a company creates a piece of content that goes viral, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of users visit their page.
YouTube gets around 30 million plays per day, but it is a largely untapped source of traffic. YouTube is an incredible source for making videos and tutorials so that your viewers can get an inside look at your business.
There are many ways to improve your YouTube SEO:
It may seem difficult, at first, to figure out what kinds of videos to produce. After checking out the kinds of successful videos your competitors are producing, you may be surprised at the variety of styles and content.
Successful YouTube channels exist for just about every industry. Business owners have found success through producing informational lectures, tutorials, interviews with industry experts, product reviews, testimonials, humorous videos (when appropriate), and many other approaches.
Instagram is the choice social media platform of young people these days. Being able to connect with your potential clients using the digital sharing media they already know and love will ensure that when they need you—you will be the first thought that comes to mind.
Crafting a personable, relatable image of yourself and your law firm supported with information and links to a relevant resource will engrain in the minds of your potential, former, and current clients that you are invested in your work, and remain current on the latest events in your niche and geographical area.
LinkedIn, like the other social media platforms, is an excellent source for connecting and engaging with other people that share the same network you do—as well as the ability to expand it. LinkedIn offers a platform for sharing and posting—just as FB, Twitter, and IG—to a more professionally driven demographic.
SEO is a continual strategy. Because SEO is based on fresh content, and because the algorithms are always changing, you need to continually update your page with new information. Perhaps a better question, is this: when will the effects of an SEO campaign begin to impact my business’s success? While there’s no definitive answer, as every business is different, here are a few key factors to consider:
There are a number of tools available to track your website’s growth. Popular and effective SEO tools include Google Analytics and Google Webmaster. These tools are useful in a number of ways:
With the right combination of expertise, persistence, and strategies, your site will be making its way up the ranks in no time. Building up your SEO–whether by yourself or with the help of an internet marketing company–is an exciting development that can take the public presence of your law firm to the next level. Internet marketing is not simply creating a website and waiting to see what happens. Don’t miss out on taking advantage of the latest SEO strategies to market your business effectively.